Arts Desk

Melody Records Will Close This Winter

Melody Records, the Dupont Circle fixture that's hawked records in the District for 34 years, is closing this winter, its owners announced yesterday on the store's website. Jack and Suzy Menase opened the store in 1977 on E Street NW, and moved it to Dupont in 1979. It moved to its current location on Connecticut Ave. NW in 1988. "While we wish that we could continue indefinitely, technology, the internet and the economy has taken its toll, and we have concluded, unfortunately, that it is not possible to survive in this environment," the Menases wrote in their letter.

We are a family owned business and it has been our privilege getting to know many of you so well over the past 34 years.  We nurtured Melody, in much the same way that we raised our children, with tender loving care.  We watched our store mature and grow, from vinyl, to 8 tracks, cassettes, CDs, and back to vinyl!  We kept pace as VHS evolved to DVD.

For those of you who have shopped with us forever, we are eternally grateful.  We worked so hard to help you locate that hard to find album, special order that specific CD or DVD, choose just that right song and be the first to have the new release from that favorite artist.  We hope that our efforts have helped to bring wonderful music into your lives.  Over the years, many celebrities and politicians have stopped by our store.  As exciting as this was, it was just as important to us to serve the one time customer who needed a quick purchase.

That brings the number of record stores within city limits to...less than half a dozen? But while Smash!, Red Onion, Crooked Beat, and Som are all great shops, they're also fairly boutique and mostly rock-focused. If you wanted pop, hip-hop, classical, jazz, Latin, African music, or just about any other genre—and if you're the kind of person who still buys your music in person—you probably went to Melody. These days, record stores do most of their business selling vinyl—and plenty of that they sell online. The margins are skinny. In the eyes of some shop owners, initiatives like Record Store Day have dubious benefits. All of that plus Dupont Circle rent? It's no surprise Melody is calling it a day. Still a shame, though.

The store is open every day 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Update, 4:22 p.m.: “Internet, technology was becoming a big problem so,  we just decided the best thing to be to close it while we were—we just wanted to leave on a good note,” Jack Menase, 60, tells me. Even though the store has seen an uptick in vinyl sales in recent years, it couldn’t make up for plummeting sales across the board, he said. “We did carry as much vinyl as we can but it wouldn’t justify only vinyl. We always wanted to be a full selection store.”

The couple doesn't have any plans for now—they're focused on selling their merchandise and closing the store. "We loved our customers," Jack Menase says. "We really enjoyed finding [for them] the music we didn’t have in the store."

The article originally reported that Melody moved to its current location in 1979. In fact, it moved to its current neighborhood that year, but not to its current spot until nine years later.

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    I am very sorry to hear about the closing of Melody Records. I've shopped there for years. My office use to be in Dupont circle back in the early nineties. I use to sneak out of the office at 9 and go over to Melody to pick up a C.D.

    I will truly miss this establishment. Everything must change and sometimes changes aren't good or make you feel happy.

  • jcd

    I'm also very sorry to see them go. They've been my main source for classical music purchases since the closure of Tower Records. They have a great selection, and the owners and staff have been both friendly and knowledgeable.

    I guess I'll have to do my CD shopping online now, unless someone knows of an area store with a good selection.

  • Marcus J. Moore


  • dcreader

    Interesting article on Melody closing here:

  • Erik

    Joint Custody in Adams Morgan has been getting some amazing stuff in. Mostly used, jazz, rap, pop, psych, punk, real great selection of used, but their new releases are also near flawless in what they get in.

    Melody was nice to go to for new releases. It makes sense though that a store that sells solely new releases cannot sustain itself. People just buy from scummy Amazon now. I'll still miss Melody, but I was one of the only people I know who still checked out what they had on a regular basis. Great people running that store too, real nice staff.

  • dan

    good thing cd cellar still exists.

  • Chris

    This news ruined my day completely. I've been going in to Melody for 4 years at least once a week to check out new opera DVD and CD releases. I have always been grateful to them for taking the genre seriously and love the guy who orders their classical inventory. He has true passion for music and I hope his talent and insight will serve him in the future. All the staff there...I wish you the very best. Will there be a closing party? An opportunity for all of us to show you how much we will miss you?!

  • Walt

    I am saddened to hear about Melody closing. I spent many hours perusing their eclectic selection of music during the time I lived in DC. The benefit of advancements in technology unfortunately have a downside, relegating some of the things we love most to history's dusty shelves.

    I wish the owners and staff of Melody the very best. Thanks for the great memories!

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  • Jef

    As an avid, if not obsessive, music buyer - this was bound to happen. Their record and cd prices were waaay too high. I dj. I spend roughly $500-$1000 monthly on music. I travel and get a chance to see what other shops are charging for releases. Their prices were just too high to stick around longer. To those affected, condolences for your loss.